JOSEPH DENNIE: A CAVALIER AT WORK IN AMERICAN LITERATURE.
COLUMBIA UNIV NEW YORK
Pagination or Media Count:
Joseph Dennie was an American critic and essayist who founded the Port Folio, Americas first successful literary journal, thereby setting the standards of literary taste for the first decade of the 19th century. Dennies Stuart Cavalier conservatism caused him to attack Jefferson and Franklin. Jefferson he attacked for championing democracy, a form of government that he claimed awarded the unlearned masses an equal place with gentlemen scholars in the determination of literary standards. Franklin he held responsible for a sordid economy in government that denied lucrative offices and outright grants to deserving artists. Dennie described America as a land where genius sickens and where fancy dies. Dennies neglect as a critic is said to be just he failed to adjust to Americas change to a democracy because he was certain that a democracy could not support polite letters and because his love for classic literature was genuine.